What do Canadians, single moms, and a downtown high-rise have in common?
Typically nothing, but the Over the Edge event happening next month in Knoxville is anything but typical. The Nova Scotia-based company Over the Edge is an extreme adventure company dedicated to raising charitable funds by rappelling donors off high rises. The team at OTE hosts "extreme events to raise extreme funds," and they are extremely good at it, consistently earning six figures wherever they go, according to their website. They have a goal to raise $50 million dollars in ten years for charities, and at this rate, they're well on their way to reaching it.
So here's where Knoxville and those single moms come in.
Over the Edge's fund- and awareness-raising acumen drew the attention of Daniel Watson of Knoxville's Restoration House, a local organization offering transitional housing, family advocacy, and ally teams to low-income single mothers looking for a way out of the often-entrenching cycle of poverty. Watson, who's worked with these families for years, has seen first hand the extreme pervasiveness of this problem and sought out a fundraising opportunity just as extreme to face it.
"These single moms go over the edge every day for their kids," says Watson, "so why don't we go over the edge for them?"
It's a compelling vision for sure. 35% of Knoxville households are headed by a single parent, and most of those families live below the poverty line. The funds raised at the event will go towards developing Phase II of a 24-unit community in Knoxville called "The Village" which will serve single-mother families in partnership with Emerald Youth Foundation and A Hand Up for Women.
"We're delighted to be working with Restoration House to bring this inaugural signature fundraising event to Knoxville," says Over the Edge CEO Paul Griffith. "The extensive community engagement on behalf of single moms and their kids that Restoration House embodies is a key part of the community celebration around this event, bring[ing] local media, VIP’s, corporate Knoxville and the average Joe and Jane to the edge on behalf of Restoration House."
If you're going to hang over the edge of a highrise, there's really no better cause I can think of.
Want to get involved? Here's how it works:
Every participant that raises at least $1000 will get the opportunity to rappel 12-stories down the Langley Building in Downtown Knoxville. If you'd rather send someone else over the edge, there's an option to "toss your boss" instead. Some people are even tossing their dentist (yes, please). Just raise the minimum $1,000 and all the same rules apply. But watch out. If the person you toss can match your donation, they get to pick someone else to toss, says OTE (and it might be you!). If you're worried about safety, don't. Ropes professionals guide participants through the entire rappel, and Over the Edge adheres to strict guidelines set by top experts in the industry. There's no experience necessary and no experience like it.
Too chicken for this Mission Impossible stunt? Well Over the Edge has a coop just for you. The "Chick-n Coop" sponsored by Chick-fil-A is specifically for participants who want to support the Restoration House but don't have the least desire to walk backwards down the side of a building. "Chick-ns" will "watch from the safety of the Block Party, enjoy fun activities, and cheer on those rappelling!"
Over the Edge Knoxville will take place on Saturday, August 29th from 8am to 5pm. If you'd like to sponsor, contribute, or even go over the edge yourself, check out their website at overtheedgeknox.org to find more information and register.